Five financial challenges women face (and how to overcome them)
Do you struggle with money? Discover the five most common financial challenges women face, and learn how you can overcome them.
Consultant, mentor and credit management expert Sue Salamon from the Boutique Business Consultancy reveals why women find money so difficult, and how we can adopt a healthier (and more profitable!) approach.
We need money
Money’s such a funny thing. We spend so much of our time either thinking about it, engaged in activities that use it, trying to make it or spending it.
Even activities you might think of as being free, such as spending time at home with your family, actually costs money in terms of rent or mortgage payments for most of us. And creating space for family time on holiday can cost a small fortune.
You might also think that being fit and healthy doesn’t cost money, but if you’re going to buy the best organic food produce and go to a great gym then you’ll pay out considerable sums in the process.
But it doesn’t have to dominate our lives
‘t the other side of the coin, money also comes with emotional attachments, and many of us will start feeling very panicked and concerned by the prospect of losing money or failing to reach our financial objectives. Perhaps this is hardly surprising, given how important money is in our lives – whether we like it or not.
Money, however, does not have to dominate our lives and we can all take steps to secure more financial freedom whatever our circumstances might be.
Do these issues make you uncomfortable?
Do any of these issues make you feel uncomfortable:
- Addressing money issues with your husband/partner.
- Leaving your full-time job.
- Taking time to learn how to invest your money.
- Increasing your prices.
Now that we’ve got those uncomfortable feelings stirred up, let’s take a look at how we can overcome the challenges that we face when managing our money.
Five financial challenges women face
Discover the five key financial challenges women face – and how you can overcome them.
1) Being emotional about money
This behaviour stems from the potentially scary outcome of running out of money. Not only are there the undesired feelings of shame and failure associated with financial loss, but also there are physical results.
However, the outcome may simply require reduced lifestyle expenses which can actually lead to more conscious and focused spending and not necessarily a lower quality of life.
What’s the solution?
Let’s recognise money for what it really is. Money is not shelter, nor food, nor even the new car. It’s not the house or the holiday either.
Money is the means to acquire or experience those things. It’s the tool that we use to get them. Separate the outcome from the actual means to get the outcome, and make financial decisions from that unemotional place.
2) Losing track of spending
You don’t really lose anything with this ‘challenge’ – you choose not to track spending. For sure, calculating cash flow is not exciting for most of us, but taking steps to create wealth and getting the life you want certainly can be.
Speaking of tracking spending, what if I said ‘the next step we’ll take is to create a budget’? Yuck – is there anyone who thinks budgeting is fun? Budgeting is associated with lack rather than abundance and positive thinking.
What’s the solution?
In order to know what’s working, we have to know where our money is going. Prioritising our spending allows us to use our money for those things that we decide are important to us. In helping women become confident about growing their money, I prefer to refer to it as a “spending plan”. It sounds much more empowering.
You get a certain amount of money each month and you get to choose how you’re going to use it. Take 30 minutes to calculate how much you’ve got coming in and going out every month so you don’t lose track of your money.
You can simply record this by hand on a piece of paper, use financial software or hire a bookkeeper. Losing track of spending is not a mistake, it’s an easily fixed behaviour.
3) Not being money oriented
Being money oriented just means choosing to pay close attention to your finances. We all know that what we give our attention to is about a thousand times more likely to grow.
Common excuses for not being money oriented include lack of time and energy, boredom and having it be someone else’s responsibility.
What’s the solution?
Choose to be money oriented. Want some fun motivation to get money oriented? Write out what you want to have in your life. What is it that excites you? Think big but don’t think about the how. What’s important to you and are they in alignment with your core values? Make a list – enjoy!
Schedule time in your diary for a money date and reward yourself afterwards. Perhaps that could be a manicure or pedicure or something that requires not spending money at all like having a long soak in the bath with candles and music.
4) Not charging enough for your services
At the end of the day, as long as you truly believe in your services or products and the value that you are bringing to people’s lives, you should feel confident in charging the appropriate amount for it.
As women, we sometimes doubt our value and self-worth, and that is often reflected in our business through what we charge. You don’t need to compare yourself to others.
Believe in yourself and remember that clients prefer to work with people who are confident and convinced of their own value. Once you believe in yourself and the services you provide then your clients will too.
What’s the solution?
Start by calculating how much business revenue you actually need. To calculate your own business goals start by working backwards and figure out how much net income you need to support your ideal lifestyle and fund your financial goals. Then add in any personal and business taxes and business expenses. This becomes your business revenue goal for the year.
Once you know how much business revenue you need, figure out how many clients you need to work with. If you do the sums and don’t feel comfortable with the amount you need, then ask yourself how you can add more value to your services to become comfortable charging more.
If you still don’t feel comfortable charging more, then what do you need to implement to sell more units? Whatever changes you make either to your price or package make sure your numbers add up.
Increasing your income is a lot more fun and empowering than decreasing spending!
5) Believing it’s a job for a man!
Again we have our own subconscious minds playing havoc on our abilities to create our own financial destiny.
For centuries women have grown up in a society where men are the main bread winners and the women stay at home. You may have experienced that with your parents and grandparents – I certainly did.
Choosing to stay home and raise children doesn’t imply financial disempowerment. In fact, I found this a great time to proactively invest and further my knowledge without the pressure of an office job. I have always felt a desire to know that I could support myself no matter what happened to my marriage or my husband’s job.
I’m sure we all know women whose marriages ended from divorce or death and they didn’t know anything about their investments or their debts. In these situations, dealing with the loss of a loved one is compounded by the stress of having to suddenly learn to monitor investments and manage personal finances.
What’s the solution?
Be part of the money plan whatever is happening in your life. What does this look like for you? Will you choose to proactively create your financial destiny or will you choose to let whatever happens happen?
The choice is yours but you will start to feel much more secure in your own position by learning more about the key issues and taking a more active role in financial decision-making if you haven’t been doing so already.
Do your finances and emotions match up?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I’d love to hear how you feel finances and emotions match up in your life. Are you getting the balance right and is there more you could doing? Tell me in comments or get in touch with me via my website.
Sue Salamon is a consultant, mentor, credit management and founder of the Boutique Business Consultancy. You can learn more and contact her on her website.